Transgender victims remembered
By Robin Morales
LCC celebrated Transgender Awareness Week Nov. 12 to 19 and held a Day of Remembrance ceremony Nov. 20 where transgender victims of violence were honored.
“Transgender Awareness Week is a combination of films, discussions, forums and activities that I believe will help in the education, but also in the celebration, of a community that tends to be forgotten about or misunderstood or overlooked,” said LCC Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Tonya Bailey.
“LCC is participating in recognizing this needed awareness that focuses around the visibility of transgender people and hopes to address the issues that its members in this particular community face.”
All of the events were sponsored by the LCC employee Prism alliance, a committee through the office of diversity and inclusion. The organization “Focuses on LGBTQ+ issues on campus,” according to Sarah Garcia-Linz, a manager for the LCC academic success coach team.
“One very hot topic is ‘preferred name,’ so LCC is looking at implementing a preferred name policy so students, faculty and staff, who have not been able to legally change their name, can still be recognized by the name they go by,” Garcia-Linz said.
“There have been debates in the past year about whether or not it can be legal to discriminate against people who are LGBT (and) whether or not transgender is a legitimate identity, so that’s a really harmful thing for someone who is transgender to have to hear.”
Community members joined the college on Nov. 20 for the transgender day of remembrance. Similar events, which honor transgender individuals who have died as a result of homicide, took place across the country, according to Garcia-Linz.
“So far in 2019 there are at least 22 murders of transgender people, most of them are transwomen of color and that is a trend every year,” Garcia-Linz said. “The risks of being alive in this world as someone who is transgender is not always safe.”
Speakers on Nov. 20 included LCC Women’s Basketball Coach Layne Ingram and Rev. Pastor Phiwa Langeni, founder of Salus Center, a Christian LGBT resource center in Lansing. Both touched on their experiences and personal beliefs as transgender individuals in the wider LCC community.
“It’s not even fathomable … how someone just being who they are becomes so much of a threat to someone else,” Langeni said.